Houston chef Chris Williams is going to be busy in 2021. The chef-owner of Museum District favorite Lucille's announced that he's formed Lucille's Hospitality Group to open two new concepts in Houston, a restaurant in Nova Scotia, and an art gallery.
“It’s been a long road to get this point, and I am so grateful to be surrounded by a work family that not only shares LHG’s vision for the future, but fully understands the work required to make it happen,” Williams said in a statement. “The LHG perspective to the work is unique as nearly every single member comes from restaurant kitchens. We know how to grind!”
For Houstonians, the most intriguing new concept is Late August, which will be led by chef Dawn Burrell, who earned a James Beard Award semifinalist nomination for her work at downtown restaurant Kulture. Slated to open in late 2021, Late August will "explore the soul of Afro-Asian flavors." The menu combines Burrell's various experiences; the olympian-turned-chef has worked locally for Monica Pope and as a sous chef for Austin's acclaimed Japanese restaurant Uchiko.
Working together on Late August builds on a professional relationship the two chefs established in 2019 when they teamed up for the Food Apartheid Dinner Series with chefs Dominick Lee (formerly of Poitín), and Jonny Rhodes (Indigo). After leaving Kulture in early 2020, Burrell founded the Pivot meal kit delivery service; it will evolve into a pop-up series that will preview potential dishes for Late August, her first time project where she'll have an ownership stake.
“Being a part of this team is really a dream come true for me," Burrell said in a statement. "I get to do what I love to do with food creatively while also meeting the needs of so many people through Lucille’s 1913 [Williams' non-profit]. I’m excited to be apart of it.”
In addition to partnering with Burrell to open Late August, Williams will also Rado Cafe. Expected to open in the Third Ward in 2022, Rado will serve coffee, cocktails, and "cuisine with purpose," according to a release. Hogan Brown Gallery, a venue that will promote African American art and artists, will open as a companion to Rado.
Locations for both Late August and Rado Cafe will be announced soon, a representative tells CultureMap.
Before any of the new Houston projects open, Williams will launch Emile's Black Point Bistro in Nova Scotia. The pub will blend Lebanese influences, a nod to the founders' heritage, with local ingredients and modern techniques. It will open this spring.
In order to manage all of his new projects, Williams has tasked Lucille's chef de cuisine Khang Hoang with leading the restaurant's day-to-day operations. Josh Lopez has been promoted to general manager.
In addition to the new concepts, Williams has also expanded Lucille's 1913, the non-profit he founded with his brother Ben to feed Houstonians who have struggled during the pandemic. Galveston native Lawrence Walker serves as the organization's culinary director, and Robertine Jefferson brings 25 years of experience in fundraising to her role as the organization's director of development.